Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hot Dogs of Summer

Summer has returned and while we may be looking forward to the warmer weather, spending more time outdoors and sitting by the pool we must remember that with the heat comes a whole new set of problems for our favorite furry friends.

Hot Pavement:
Have you ever tried to walk barefoot out on your road or driveway during the heat of the day? Now imagine walking outside with not just two bare feet bur four. Get the idea? The pavement can get extremely hot, especially during the heat of the day, so to prevent burnt paw pads try to keep your pets inside between 10AM-4PM or if they must go outside be sure to give them a nice grassy area to walk around on. Your dog will thank you for it.

Nasty Chemicals:

Along with summer comes all the chemicals we use to remove unwanted guests. Herbicides, insecticides and lawn fertilizers are all brought out of storage to combat pesky intruders we would rather not see. If you think an area has been recently treated with any of these chemicals do your pet a favor and keep them off the lawn. In addition, don't let your pets drink from any puddles that may be collecting on roads or driveways. They may contain antifreeze, oil or residue from any number of other potentially harmful chemicals. Instead carry a water bottle with you that you can use for your dog if they get a little thirsty.

4th of July:
Ahhh, the 4th of July. The barbeques, the fairs and best of all the FIREWORKS!!! Who wouldn't enjoy all that? The answer may be your dog. Large crowds of unfamiliar people may stress out your dog which is never a good a idea when heat and humidity are high. If you do decide to bring your pet along to a barbeque or party make sure that none of the other guests slip them something they shouldn't have. What may seem like an innocent treat may cause vomiting, diarrhea, or worse. Lastly, fireworks scare many dogs for the very same reasons we love them. They are loud, colorful and light up the sky. For a dog who may not understand what is going on this can all lead to a terrifying experience.

Going For A Drive:
The sun is out, it's a beautiful day and you decide to bring the dog along for a ride n the car while you run errands. What you may not realize is that you may be putting your pet at risk of heat stroke even if you will only be “just a minute” in the store. Car temperatures can quickly rise above 100 degrees in only a few short minutes even if the windows are cracked and the car is parked in the shade. And as the temperature rises so does the risk of heat stroke to our pets. This is due in part to the way our pets regulate their body temperatures. Cats and dogs don't sweat like people do. Instead the perspire from their paw pads and by panting. This may be an effective means of temperature control under normal conditions but in an enclosed vehicle with a rapidly rising temperature it can easily lead to disaster.

Fun In The Sun:

It's common knowledge that before we go out under the hot summer sun we should apply a healthy dose of sunscreen After all who wants to deal with dry, flaky, painful skin or risk contracting skin cancer. Well the same principle applies for your pets. This is especially true if your dog has short or fair colored hair that leaves more of their skin exposed. Any sunscreen you use should be applied to exposed portions of skin such as the tips of their ears, the skin around their lips, and the tip of their nose. Remember a little goes a long way so don't slather on too much.

Most of us enjoy a refreshing swim during the summer months and your dog is often more than willing to take that plunge right after you. But before they dive in be sure to remember that no matter if it is in a pool, lake or river you should never leave your pet unattended. Much like a small child they may have trouble getting themselves out of the water, get caught in a current or have some other issue requiring your assistance. So for your safety and theirs be sure to always keep your pet in sight wherever you are.

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